Delicious Destinations: Palm Harbor, Florida

ice cream scoops against white background
(Photo: @kathkarno via Twenty20)

Palm Harbor, Florida, is a unique area between Tampa and Clearwater Beach. While there aren’t any beaches in Palm Harbor itself, you only have to drive about 15 minutes to find the sandy shores of Clearwater, or drive 15 minutes in the other direction to run into the waters of Tampa Bay. Palm Harbor is known for its adorable Greek fishing village, where Greek restaurants line the sidewalks and tourist shops are filled with kitschy knickknacks. When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, consider exploring one of the following restaurants in or near Palm Harbor. You won’t regret spending a few minutes on the waitlist to dine at these fun spots.

MORE: Check out Other Delicious Destinations

Best Restaurant for Breakfast: Flapjacks

Looking for a simple but filling breakfast? Head to Flapjacks. The quaint spot is mostly filled with locals sipping coffee, chatting, and eating. The restaurant is known for its homemade pancakes, egg skillets, and massive omelettes. If you’re feeling spicy, get the Mexican omelet with chorizo and jalapeños incorporated right into the egg layer.

Flapjacks Must Have: The 2 + 2 + 2, which lets you try a bit of everything with two eggs, two pancakes, and your choice of meat.

Best Restaurant for Families: Rusty Bellies

At the end of the Greek fishing village stands a tall building with a huge outdoor patio, and likely a large crowd waiting outside. Rusty Bellies is a fantastic seafood restaurant that serves the people of Palm Harbor some of the freshest seafood in the city. If you plan on visiting on a weekend night, be sure to get there about an hour to an hour and a half before you actually want to eat, because this place gets busy quickly and wait times can be long. To help your wait go by faster, head over to the small bar on the right side of the building to grab a cocktail. There’s something for everyone on the menu, with items like grouper tacos and ceviche. On the weekends, the restaurant also brings in a talented sushi chef to create stunning rolls out of the freshly delivered fish.

Rusty Bellies Must Have: Spicy tuna roll and seafood ceviche

Best Restaurant for Adults: Packard’s Steakhouse

Packard’s Steakhouse is located at the Innisbrook Golf Resort, but you don’t have to be a guest or member to eat at this traditional steakhouse. The menu is filled with favorites like a shrimp cocktail that’s been elevated and modernized with a crab salad and chilled tomato fume. Do not miss out on the calamari fries, which are actually made with calamari steaks and are the most succulent, tender pieces of calamari at any restaurant around. Pick a cut of steak and have it cooked to perfection, then order a few sharable sides before walking out satisfied and full.

Packard’s Steakhouse Must Have: Calamari fries

Best Restaurant for Solo Travelers: Gigglewaters

About 20 minutes from downtown Palm Harbor you’ll find Gigglewaters. The restaurant is part dining room with a swanky prohibition-era theme, and part movie theater where you can munch on dinner while enjoying a classic film. Solo travelers will enjoy sitting at the bar chatting with the knowledgable bar tenders as they mix bourbon and gin based drinks. If you’re planning on seeing a movie and want a snack, consider the Giggle Dippers, fried sticks with your choice of pickles, onions, zucchini and more plus a variety of sauces. The restaurant is known for its burgers and hotdogs, so be sure to try one of those as well.

Gigglewaters Must Have: The Caprese Burger

Best Spot for a Snack: Strachan’s Homemade Ice Cream

Ice cream lovers rejoice because the best ice cream spot in Palm Harbor is Strachan’s Homemade Ice Cream. Pop inside to order or head straight to the take-out window if you already know what you want from this little roadside stand. The signature flavor at the ice cream shop is carrot cake, which uses chunks of the owner’s award winning carrot cake recipe in the actual ice cream. It tastes just like the best carrot cake you’ve ever had, but better because, well, it’s ice cream.

Strachan’s Homemade Ice Cream Must Have: Carrot cake ice cream in a waffle cone

Best Brewery in Palm Harbor: Stilt House Brewery

Stilt House Brewery opened in 2014 and has been serving craft beer to Palm Harbor residents and visitors ever since. The brewery is known for its extensive tap list that includes over 25 different beers ranging from light lagers to dark stouts and everything in between. The brewery often partners with food trucks to bring in tasty bites for patrons, and regularly has live music to enjoy while sipping on a cold glass of beer.

Stilt House Brewery Must Have: Whatever beer suits your fancy.

More About Delicious Destinations

Some people plan their vacation with no thought of where they are going to eat, while others plan their entire trip around food. No matter which camp you’re in, FamilyVacationist’s Delicious Destinations has you covered. Each month, this food column covers local favorites including the best family dining spots, the best places for solo travelers, and irresistible snacks in cities around the U.S. Up this month: the best places to eat in Palm Harbor, Florida.

I’m Megan duBois. I’m a full-time food and drink writer, and when I don’t have a fork in my hand, there’s likely an ice cream cone there instead. In this Delicious Destinations column, you can come with me to a different city each month and we’ll explore great restaurants, bars, bakeries, and other eateries. I’ll offer recommendations for families, adults, and solo travelers in each city. I’ll also give you tips on finding great themed restaurants, mid-day snacks, and breweries.

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Megan duBois
Megan duBois is a freelance writer who covers theme parks, cruising, food and drink, and family travel. Her work has appeared on Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Insider, Orbitz, FamilyVacationist, The Daily Meal, Family Vacation Critic, TravelPulse, and more. Megan has been quoted as an expert and thought leader on theme parks for Forbes and other outlets.